Walking With the Trees

“Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.”

—Karle Wilson Baker, 20th Century American Poet

Image of people walking through the forest

Image from Flickr by Dickson Phua

In the plant world, trees are among the most remarkable living creatures. In addition to being some of the largest and oldest living things, they have the ability to defy gravity. They reach toward the sky to absorb the sun’s energy, using it to make their own food through the process of photosynthesis.

I believe today’s quote points us to those tall, stand-out people within our personal or professional communities. These are the individuals we most admire and see as leaders who inspire us to stretch for our own greatest heights.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you grow and stand even taller by walking with and associating with others who are stretching skyward toward the canopy of life?

How Well You Bounce

“Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.”

—Tigger, The House at Pooh Corner

Image of Tigger and Ior

Image from disney.com

Running fast and climbing high are definitely part of any success journey. They represent the positive and affirming aspects of achievement and progress.

On the other hand, setbacks, stumbles, and outright failures beset us all. Quite often, we get the wind knocked out of us, leaving us reluctant to get up and bounce back into the game.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what issues do you need to be more “Tigger-like,” and bounce back to gain greater resiliency in your world?

Glimpses of Heaven

“There are glimpses of Heaven to us in every act or thought or word, that raises us above ourselves.”

—A.P. Stanley, 19th Century Dean of Westminster

Image of Thor's Helmet Emission Nebula

Thor’s Helmet Emission Nebula 
Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona

I love the idea that if we shoot for the moon and miss our mark, we will still land among the stars. How often do your eyes rise to the heavens to explore and pursue the possibilities of life? How often do you navigate your world looking down or only at your next step?

With the right lens or perceptional filter, today’s quote suggests we can use every action, thought, or word as a catalyst, to become a better versions of ourselves.

EXERCISE:

Ask and answer these three questions, to open up the heavens even further:
• What did I learn from the action that I just took, to improve my current situation?
• How can my current thinking be more hopeful, optimistic, and creative?
• What do I hear or read that can inspire me toward a new level of excellence?

Consider creating a question or two for yourself that, once answered, can raise your life to new levels of success and life satisfaction.

The Spur of Competition

“Without the spur of competition we’d loaf out our life.”

—Arnold Glasow, 20th Century American Businessman

Image of a bicycle race

Image from Flickr by Rob Annis

Growing up, few kids wanted to be called a “Loaf.” Although the word has many meanings, in today’s quote it refers to being a procrastinator, or lazy.

Sports, getting good grades, and even entering the working world were the spurs that had me leap into my days with energy and enthusiasm, striving for success.

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional world would a greater spirit of competition spur you on to higher levels of success?

Expect the Sting of Bees

“In seeking honey, expect the sting of bees.”

—Saudi Arabian Proverb

Close-up image of a bee's stinger

Image from almanac.com

Who doesn’t want all the sweetness life has to offer?

Unfortunately, many are fueled by the media and seek short cuts or the path of least resistance. They expect a magic pill or believe a stroke of luck will provide their heart’s desire.

To say life just doesn’t work like that is an understatement. All we need do is dig the tiniest bit beneath the surface of virtually any sweet success to discover many a bee sting.

EXERCISE:

What sweet success are you striving for, personally or professionally, that is without question worth the stings of setbacks and potential failure?

What strategies could you employ to negate or become immune to such irritations and pains?

Initiative is to Success

“Initiative is to success what a lighted match is to a candle.”

—Orlando A. Battista, 20th-Century Canadian-American chemist & author

Image of a lit match

Image from Flickr by Rob Howard

Today’s quote suggests that initiative can be a spark of life, leading us to a brighter future.

What, for you, is the value and importance of getting the ball rolling on your key professional and personal priorities, rather than taking a laid-back, “wait and see” approach?

Many hesitate, thinking, “What if it doesn’t work?” or “What if I embarrass myself and look foolish in taking such a risk?”

If you have these thoughts, consider instead what it would be like if it worked out just as you hoped. What is the likelihood you would wish you had taken the initiative sooner?

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently hesitating or procrastinating on an important matter in your life? What act of initiative that supports a brighter future will you take within the next 24 hours?

There are no speed limits on the road to success

There are no speed limits on the road to success.”

—David W. Johnson, Social Psychologist

Image of a jet breaking the sound barrier

Image from Business Insider

What is the only known speed limit in the universe?

If you answered 186,000 miles per second (the speed of light) you would be correct!

In our cyberspace society, companies are beginning to use this concept as a strategic advantage in relationship to our planet’s geography, to achieve micro-second advantages over their competitors. Think of placing communication devices, such as cell towers, closer together so signals travel shorter distances, in less time.

Many people are not interested in living 24 hours a day in a speed-of-light world, or for that matter, breaking the sound barrier (340.29 miles per second). Their internal clocks and daily rhythms flow at a more modest pace.

The take-away for me here is that we all get to chose the optimal speed at which we travel our success journey, be we tortoise or hare.

EXERCISE:

In what areas in your life is it appropriate to speed up, slow down, or maybe even stop to achieve the level of life success you desire?

The Most Important Thing You Wear

“Your expression is the most important thing you wear.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash

Putting our best foot forward, making a good first impression, and the general way we present ourselves to the world couldn’t be more important these days.

We know that people are judging us all the time. What you are wearing, literally? And what physical expressions are people observing about you?

Examining your current attitudes, moods, emotions, and feelings may provide some clues to how open and receptive people may be to you. This almost always impacts the success of our personal and professional relationships.

I tend to be a very serious person. My wife Wendy frequently asks me if I’m OK. When I say, “Yes, I am,” she often coaches me by saying, “Inform your face!”

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you become more aware of the expressions you wear in public? How can you use your expressions to enhance the personal and professional success you desire? A genuine smile is a great place to start.

Getting Ready is the Secret to Success

“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.”

-Henry Ford, Founder of the Ford Motor Company

Image of an announcer with a bullhorn

Image from Flickr by Jun

Get Ready! Get Set! Go! …. Announcers of so many races use this phrase!

Perhaps as a child you raced with friends on the playground. I recall numerous events in which a particular race was deemed “unfair” by a participant or two. Their exact words, when complaining about the unfairness were, “I wasn’t ready!”

EXERCISE:

What are some of the most important life races in your professional or personal worlds? What extra effort can and will you make to be fully ready when it is time to go?

If people are doubting how far you will go

“If people are doubting how far you’ll go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore.”

-Michele Ruiz, award-winning broadcast journalist

Image of man walking on ice

Image from Unsplash

Having supportive people in your life is a critical component to success.

It is bad enough when our own thinking fuels the seeds of doubt; we surely don’t need those around us sharing their limiting beliefs and negative views of our potential.

The coaching for today is to see these individuals as toxic, and to remove them completely from our worlds.

EXERCISE:

Who are the doubters and naysayers in your personal and professional worlds? In what ways can you get far away from them, to avoid their negative influence? How can and will you surround yourself with “true believers” to support your greatest personal and professional potential?